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Featured Artist: Dimple Sharma

Monday, February 14th, 2011

With an upbringing that included classical Indian poetry and Eastern mysticism, it’s no surprise that Dimple Sharma’s music is infused with the sounds of music heard on the other side of the globe. Born in India, her parents passed on their love of the local culture. “My father’s side in India descended from a long line of meditators,” she says. “Thus, the mysticism of the East was ever present in my upbringing.”

Sharma has since moved to Toronto, Canada, but the Eastern inspirations of her childhood remain in her music. Combining a love of singing and writing songs with her seven years of experience studying ancient esoteric texts, she managed to develop a unique style that’s as much spiritual as it is musical. “The music became a mix of my east Indian origins and western sounds akin to Delerium or Tangerine Dream,” she says, referring to her use of instruments such as sitar and tabala on many of her songs. “The lyrics were written for the urban monk–the individual adapting to the ever-changing, modern paradigm, yet still upholding traditional values and principles.”

When she was having trouble finding reliable musicians to record her projects, Sharma turned to Studio Pros to get Los Angeles session players to quickly record professional tracks for her songs. “I had read positive things about Studio Pros in music magazines years back, and I decided to contact them,” she remembers. “In the past, it was not easy to find musicians that had the technical expertise in addition to a high level of professionalism and ability to follow through on a timely basis.”

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Featured Artist: EDGE

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

EDGE is a Studio Pros artist with a very unique sound. “My musical style is a mix of all the influences I had from my work and personal life,” says the French-born musician. “It’s also a mix of all the different periods I went through with music styles.” Some of these musical phases included The Beatles, Erasure and The Cure. He’s also been influenced by Brit pop like Pulp and the Manic Street Preachers, French music and American bands like Smashing Pumpkins and System of a Down. The result is a sound that touches on each of his international inspirations and keeps the listener wondering what to expect from the next song.

Currently residing in Switzerland (after some time living in London and Madrid), EDGE came to Studio Pros after several disappointing experiences working with various sound engineers. “I was looking for people who could understand what I wanted to reach in terms of production,” he explains. “I found Studio Pros on the web and listened to the previews on the website. I found them just amazing, and decided to try.”

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Preparing the Perfect Pre-production Files for Studio Pros

Friday, January 14th, 2011

So, you’ve decided to start your first project with Studio Pros. Great! You’ll notice that the first step after placing your order is the upload page. This is where you get to upload a scratch version of your song for our musicians to work from, plus any other files you might want to include. Here are some important things to keep in mind to help you prepare to make your Studio Pros project go smoothly.

Record to a Click Track

One of the most helpful things to provide our studio musicians is a song recorded to a click track. The click track is like a metronome; it keeps the beat steady and even. Recording to a click allows our players to know exactly where they are in the song while recording their parts. If you’ve never recorded to a click before, you might try using an online metronome to determine your song’s tempo. Then, download a free audio recording program such as Audacity and set up a click track. Record to the click, then upload your rough recording to our website.

Take note of the tempo (measured in “beats per minute,” or BPM) so you can tell the Studio Pros musicians what they’re recording over. This will help to ensure that our session players are laying down the right parts for your song.

Upload a Text File With Instructions

Although you get a chance to write some instructions during the ordering process, you may want to get into more detail for your song (or you may have forgotten something when you first ordered). Write instructions for your song in a text file, and be as detailed as you’d like. The more direction you can give the musicians, the better. Save your directions to a convenient file format—TXT, RTF, and DOC are usually good choices—and upload them at the same time as you upload your scratch recording to make sure our players don’t start recording before you tell them everything they need to know!

Use Reference Tracks

Reference tracks help our players understand the musical context of your song. Because music can be described in vague and subjective language, having solid examples of what you’re looking for can help immensely. See our post on reference tracks for more information on this.

Include Chords and Song Structure If You Can

Whenever possible, it’s good to provide the musicians with the chord progression and the structure of your song. For example, you could write:

INTRO (4 bars)

[Em ] [Am ] [Em ] [G Am]

VERSE (8 bars)

[Em ] [Em ] [Am ] [Am ] (x2)

This, along with the click track and instructions, will help make sure our musicians know the correct structure for your song.

When you’re recording a project with Studio Pros, the more you information you can provide our musicians with before you start, the easier it will be to get the song you’ve envisioned to become a reality!

Featured Artist: Kevin Tye

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Kevin Tye had never made a professional product with his music.  With the help of Studio Pros, he’s now taken his passion to the next level.

Kevin Tye has quite a bit of musical experience–he played in local bands for almost a quarter century. Eventually he moved on to writing his own material, taking advantage of the fact that he could set up a home studio very easily with today’s computer recording options. These days, he writes and records songs in his spare time when he’s not a this full-time job as a teacher. “I do it as a passion,” he says. “I just like to create things.” But until recently, he had never attempted to make a fully professional recording of his music.

Tye writes in multiple styles and genres, but as of late he has been focusing his creative efforts mainly on writing country songs. He saw an ad for Studio Pros in a magazine. “I decided I would give it a try,” he remembers, “to see what one of my songs would sound like through a professional studio.”

“I was a bit unsure exactly how it was all gonna play out,” he admits. But Tye’s confidence grew with each step of the recording process with Studio Pros; it started with a song sketch and built from there, while he gave his input on each of the tracks as he heard them. He was particularly interested in hearing the musical direction his songs would take by letting Studio Pros’ session musicians make their own decisions. “I wanted to see what the choices would be for people who are doing this thing day in and day out,” he explains. Then, giving more of his own feedback as the process went on, Tye struck a balance that he felt optimized his songs. “In the end I think it was a good mix of musical choices. For example, the singer did some slightly different things in the vocal than I had done, which I ended up liking quite a bit. So it was kind of that process where I was just feeling it out at first, then giving more input at the very end stages.”

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Guitar Solos: How to Record a Great One

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Sometimes an awesome guitar solo can add a new level of energy and fun to a song. In some cases, particularly in songs from guitar-focused bands like The Black Crowes and Van Halen, the guitar solo can be the defining moment of a song. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a bad solo can really bring a song down with it. Imagine that just when you are really getting into a song, suddenly a lame solo completely takes you out of it–and once you’re gone, the song may never recover.

It’s important, then, to be sure you’re laying down a sweet solo whenever you record your song–a solo that will enhance it and not hinder it. Here are some tips for recording the ultimate guitar solo!

To improvise or not to improvise?

Even before you go to record your guitar solo, you have some decisions to make. Do you want to sit down and write a solo beforehand or are you planning on improvising one on the spot? Unless you’re a seasoned improviser and you’re playing music that typically involves heavy ad-libbing (like jam band music or jazz), I would recommend at least outlining a sketch of your solo beforehand. You don’t have to plan it lick-for-lick, but it’s a good idea to come up with some basic guidelines: how long you’ll play in one position before shifting up an octave, what bar you want to play a cool arpeggio over, where you’re going to fit in that really catchy lick you came up with, etc.

When I was recording the solo to a song that had a particularly complicated chord progression, I knew I needed to work out what I would play ahead of time, because I probably wouldn’t improvise anything memorable on the spot. I was really glad that I did–the solo that I ended up writing was much more thoughtful and interesting than what I would have made up, and it became a signature musical moment for my band.

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